Happy Fourth!

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  1. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    The dish people love most when I bring it to potluck is a salad of Israeli couscous, dried fruit, sauteed onions and green peppers, tossed in orange juice. It’s vegetarian and seems to go with whatever casseroles others have brought.

    Oh, tossed in orange juice. I wonder if that would work with quinoa too? Sounds great! ~Elise

  2. Linda

    Happy 4th, Elise! What an incredibly happy face on this child! It just captures the joy of life and the thrill of a sparkler, doesn’t it? I hope you enjoy your day and have a safe one.

    Andrew (pictured) and his brother Matthew went through at least 10 boxes of sparklers that evening, getting ready for it to get dark enough for the bigger fireworks. :-) ~Elise

  3. Kim

    Always a fan of strawberry shortcake! I love to bring a big jar of homemade pickles when I go to a barbecue. Happy 4th of July to you and your family.

    Homemade pickles! Great idea. ~Elise

  4. Susanne

    Hi Elise

    Here’s a recipe I got from my sister and it’s wonderful in the summer. It calls for minute rice — go figure. I can’t imagine it wouldn’t work with regular “real” rice as well. Since there’s nothing that can spoil (like mayonnaise) this is a great salad to take on a picnic. Tastes great chilled or room temp. Thanks for such a beautiful website:


    1 cup uncooked minute rice
    1/2 cup italian dressing
    1 Tbls.soy sauce
    1/2 tsp. sugar
    2 cups spinach, cut into strips
    1/2 cup sliced celery
    1/2 cup green onions
    1/3 cup crumbled bacon (or more)

    Cook rice according to directions on package. in a large bowl, combine warm
    rice, dressing, soy sauce and sugar. cover and chill. fold in remaining
    ingredients before serving. serves 6 to 8

    Thanks! Love the ease of this one. And anything with bacon and spinach has my vote. ~Elise

  5. kristina

    OMG who is that gorgeous child?

    Isn’t he adorable? That’s my neighbor Andrew (now 6, the photo is a couple years old). ~Elise

  6. katie

    My favourite to bring is your pea and almond salad! Everyone always asks me for the recipe! My favourite thing to eat at a picnic is grilled corn on the cob!

    Love that pea salad. First discovered it at a July 4th BBQ. ~Elise

  7. Janel

    Happy Fourth! I love pasta salad at potlucks. We had one yesterday at my office, and a girl brought some with pepperoni, red peppers, yellow peppers, green peppers, and sharp cheddar in the mix. It was one of the best I’ve ever had.

    Oh I’ve had that, it’s good! Thanks for the reminder. ~Elise

  8. Erin

    I always find that a black bean and corn salad is a big hit at summer barbecues. And it always looks so pretty on the table, with the two main ingredients and then colorful bell peppers, tomatoes, green onions, jalapeno, and cilantro. Yum. :)

  9. DebbieWS

    This salad always goes fast at Potluck and Dinners. I found it when I was on Weight Watchers, but tweaked the lettuce. The first recipe ask for Romaine but everyone like Iceberg the best.

    Southwestern Layered Salad
    1 can black beans, drained
    1/4 cup salsa
    1/4 cup chopped cilantro
    2 cup shredded lettuce
    2 chopped tomatoes
    1 1/2 cup corn (frozen or canned)drained
    1 chopped red onion
    1/2 cup low fat cheddar cheese
    1/2 avocado chopped
    2 slices bacon
    1/4 cup italian dressing
    Mix beans, salsa and cilantro together. put on the bottom of bowl (if you have a glass one it would look best). Now layer the rest in order topping with dressing on top at time of serving.
    You can make ahead of time, just add avocado and dressing at time of serving.
    **This is really good with Grilled Chicken.

    Sounds sort of like a salad version of a 7-layer bean dip. Iceberg usually is the best lettuce to go with southwestern or Mexican food, so it doesn’t surprise me that you made the switch from romaine. Sounds great, thanks! ~Elise

  10. Momcat

    People beg me to bring my macaroni salad. Shell macaroni with LOTS of “stuff” mixed in. Chopped celery, salad olives and their pimientos, finely chopped sweet onions, halved or quartered tiny tomatoes, and a lot of REAL mayonnaise, either homemade or a good quality brand. NOT the nasty sweet salad dressing stuff that masquerades as mayo. I season it well with “seasoned salt” (you know what I mean) and it’s just wonderful. If you have to hold it in the fridge for more than a couple of hours, add in a little more mayo just before serving. I have added other ingredients occasionally, but it’s great with just these. Try small shrimp or chopped bacon, for example.

  11. Randy

    Elise, I have been getting your updates via Bloglines for the last 4 years now and have never commented. Thanks for all the great recipes over the years, there have been many we have tried (I’m a cooking kinda dad; my wife, God love her, could burn ice cubes). But what made me want to comment today was the picture of the boy with the sparkler. Man, he just cant smile any bigger and the joy just shows on his face. Happy Fourth!


    Happy Fourth to you too Randy! ~Elise

  12. Deborah Cantrell

    I am taking your cold pea salad to a work potluck tonight. As nurses, we work many holidays and this recipe is one I have made several times. In fact, I have used many recipes from your site for work dinners! All of us share our cooking skills and get much better food than what is available in the hospital at night–just greasy pizza, hamburgers, or the vending machine! Love Good Bite too. Thanks!

  13. Anelle

    Our favorite recipe to bring to a potluck is cheese tortellini with pesto sauce. It’s really best cold, and it means as a vegetarian, I always have something substantial to eat, but can still share with others!

  14. Liz Walter

    Elise I hope that you have a wonderful 4th of July clebration today with those near and dear to you. We just had our Canadian Birthday Party on July 1st. so this is a really good week for picnics. Some time ago I needed a salad for a pot luck and I experimented a bit and this was the end result. I liked the fact that it was so colorful and it was a big hit at the pot luck. Hope that you like it too.

    Red Rice Salad

    • Salad
    • 2 cups brown rice (or mix of brown, black and red rice)
    • 1 cup frozen green peas-thawed or use edamame instead
    • 1 green pepper, chopped fine
    • 2 celery stalks, chopped fine
    • 2 or 3 green onions, sliced thin
    • 3 to 5 radishes, chopped fine
    • ¼ cup raisins
    • 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
    • ¼ cup crystallized (candied) ginger, chopped
    • Dressing
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 6 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil (I used the hot chili oil but regular is fine too)
    • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
    • 1 tsp. brown sugar
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced

    Cook rice in water or broth to cover. (I usually use a ratio of 1 part rice to 2 parts liquid) Bring it to a boil and then turn the heat down and simmer till the water is absorbed. Test for doneness but whole grain rice can take 30-40 minutes. Spread it out onto a sheet pan to cool a bit.

    Combine with the rest of the ingredients and toss with the salad dressing to moisten.

    This salad can be chilled or left at room temp since there is no egg, mayo or meat in it. It makes a great picnic dish.

    Combine all the dressing ingredients and shake or mix together. You will not need all of the dressing for the salad, however the leftovers will keep very well in the fridge and it makes a great dipping sauce for pot stickers or Chinese dumplings.

    If you are in a hurry you can use a bottled salad dressing instead of making this one. Try the Kraft Asian Sesame or some other oriental style dressing.

    I use a rice called “Ken’s Bowl High Fibre Blended Rice” It is a mixture of long grain brown rice along with black rice and red rice. When it cooks up it turns sort of rosy coloured. I buy it at a Chinese supermarket (there are several in the Toronto area) I think that brown rice alone would work just as well it just wouldn’t have the same colour.

    The last time that I made this salad I also added peeled chopped Mango to it (not too ripe) and it was really great!

    I love rice salads, thanks for sharing yours! Sounds great. ~Elise

  15. nia

    Happy 4th!

    I make a macaroni salad (no mayo) that is really great hot or cold. Every time I make it, my mom eats about a quarter before anyone else gets any. It is great to take to picnics and potlucks!

  16. Maureen

    4th of July always means Manhattan Clam Chowder:

    3 cans of minced or chopped clams
    1 bottle of clam juice
    2 carrots
    3 or 4 strips of bacon
    2 potatoes – white potatoes or red
    3 celery stalks
    1 onion
    1 clove garlic
    1 large can crushed tomatoes

    Cook bacon slowly in a heavy pot, until it is crispy.

    Remove bacon and add chopped onion, celery, garlic, carrots and cook until the onions are wilted.

    Add the tomatoes and clam juice and drained liquid from the canned clams and bring to a boil. Add the chopped, peeled potatoes, pepper (quite a bit) and the nothing-gets-cooked-without-it Thyme!

    Notice there is NO salt – the clam juice and clams are salty enough. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked – 30 to 45 minutes.

    Add the clams and some chopped parsley and warm it up – it shouldn’t really boil – as the clams just need to be warmed or they will get too rubbery.

    You can sprinkle some bacon over the top – I don’t like it in the chowder because it gets all soft – but you can dump it in if you like …

  17. Susan

    Happy 7/4! I love salads to take to potlucks. This one is always a hit anytime. Especially good for vegetarians.

    White, Red & Black Bean Salad

    1 (15 oz) can white beans
    1 (15 oz) can red beans
    1 (15 oz) can black beans
    1 ½ cups frozen yellow corn, thawed
    ¼ cup red pepper, finely diced
    ¼ cup green pepper, finely diced
    2 shallots, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup
    4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
    4 Tbs. red wine vinegar
    1/2 rounded tsp. garlic powder or 1 lg clove garlic finely minced
    1/2 rounded tsp. Ground Cumin (fresh ground from seed is best)
    1/4 rounded tsp. salt or to taste
    1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper or to taste.

    In a colander, drain all the beans and add corn. Rinse well with cool water. Drain well. Pour into a large bowl, add diced peppers and toss all together well.
    Pour olive oil into a 2 cup glass measuring cup. Whisk in vinegar, garlic powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour over bean mixture. Stir until well coated. Serve immediately or chill.
    Garnish with some chopped fresh cilantro, or not!

  18. Nancy Freeze

    One of my favorites and a really easy summer recipe: Slice good, and by that I mean, home grown tomatoes about 1/2″ thick. Layer on an attractive plate with chopped onions and chopped green peppers and your favorite vinegrette dressing. Easy–quick to prepare–doesn’t need refrigeration and delicious! What more could you ask?

  19. Lori

    Black Bean and Corn Salad is what I almost always bring. There’s no mayo so it’s great for picnics. If I have time I try to use fresh corn and make my own garlic paste. Below is the quick version/recipe.

    1 can black beans rinsed/drained
    1 can corn rinsed/drained
    1/2-1 red pepper chopped into small pieces
    handful of cilantro chopped

    ~1/4 cup Olive oil
    Juice of 2 limes
    1 TBSP garlic paste
    salt/pepper to taste

    Mix dressing ingedients then put everything in a bowl and pour dressing over. Can be served immediately but best when it sits in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  20. chrissy

    Here’s my recipe suggestion, Popcorn Salad!

    Normally I would not recommend bringing a salad with a mayo base to a picnic, but this salad disappears so quickly, it never has been nor will it ever be an issue!

    (quantities are tripled for a crowd of about 18-20, adjust accordingly to meet your own needs)

    18 cups of popped popcorn (lightly salted if you like)
    2 1/2 cups light mayo
    2-3 small cans of water chestnuts, diced coarse
    1 bunch of green onions (8-10 stalks), chopped
    2-3 cups celery, chopped
    3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
    1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
    salt and pepper to taste

    At least a few hours before serving, combine mayo, onions, celery and water chestnuts in a small bowl and refrigerate until it’s time to serve. Immediately before serving, toss popcorn, bacon and cheese together and combine in a large bowl with the dressing mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve right away.

    Everyone’s favorite at our family 4th every year. Feel free to add or remove ingredients to your liking, it’s adaptable, just try to keep it close to the same amount of mayo and popcorn and you’ll be just fine! Enjoy!

    btw, love the blog! :)

    Popcorn salad? That’s a new one! Thank you for the suggestion and recipe, looks intriguing. ~Elise

  21. tiffany

    How funny for me to open my email and see a picture of my husband’s cousin’s kid!

    Hi Andrew! :-)

  22. Joanna

    Orzo salad for me! I cook the orzo in chicken stock (or vegetable stock if there will be vegetarians), cool, and toss with olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Then I add halved cherry tomatoes, slivers of basil, and crumbled feta (and sometimes toasted pine nuts, but I skipped them this year). Simple, easy, and delicious! Here in NY, the 4th of July usually corresponds with the first locally-grown tomatoes and basil of the season, so it tastes even better than it might a month or two later.

  23. HG

    Judging from several previous comments, people still think that commercial mayo is dangerous at room temperatures or hot summer afternoon sun. That is an old wives’ tale, based on the properties of raw eggs at room temperatures being dangerous, which they are. Commercial jarred mayonnaise is not only safe at room temperature, it can be stored out the refrigerator after opening (although will obviously taste fresh longer if kept refrigerated). There is no raw egg in jarred mayonnaise. It is cooked and processed, and will in fact help preserve the food it’s mixed into. You can easily check the manufacturers’ websites for confirmation.

    Here is confirmation from the West Virginia Dept. of Agriculture: http://www.wvagriculture.org/images/Literature/Mayo%20brochure.pdf

    It’s nice to know that you have one less thing to worry about when preparing picnic food.

  24. Annie

    Ever since I first brought red potato and green bean salad to a picnic, it’s been my contribution of choice for the 4th. I don’t necessarily enjoy eating warm mayo on a hot day, but your Cold Pea Salad runs a close second. This year I was at a conference on the 4th sponsored by an Indian church. I don’t know what I ate but it was delicious!